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Blood-pressure monitors: Wrist models now more accurate

Consumer Reports News: September 06, 2011 06:43 AM

In the past, while blood pressure monitors that inflate around your wrist are smaller, easier to carry and often more comfortable than most arm models, we found wrist models less accurate than those that inflate around your upper arm. No longer.

Two wrist models from our latest tests, one from Omron and one from Rite Aid, equaled the best arm models in accuracy. The Omron 7 Series BP652 was the highest-scoring model overall, and was also tops for comfort. It comes with a built-in positioning sensor that lights up and beeps to tell you whether the monitor is at heart level.

Positioning the cuff turns out to be one of the keys to accurate testing.The Omron and Rite Aid monitors instruct you to sit in a chair and hold your arm across your chest (imagine pledging allegiance). That may be why they outperform the other wrist units that ask you to hold your arm out (elbow down) over a table. Despite our technicians’ careful efforts to ensure proper alignment, none of the models that use the latter method, past or present, could equal the best arm models-or the top-rated wrist models that use the cross-your-heart approach.

Bottom line:
Our latest blood-pressure monitor Ratings have more recommended models than before, including our first-ever recommended wrist models. More choice is great news for people with borderline or high blood pressure. Home testing is essential for these groups. Recent research shows that taking an average of several readings over time provides the most reliable measurement. Home testing can actually be more accurate than the results you get at a doctor’s office. See our full blood-pressure monitor report and Ratings.

Kevin McCarthy

   

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